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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Bill Cox
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 16:34:13 -0700

Just seeing RMS and Eric exchanging e-mails is frightening!  Anyway,
Eric seems to have some excellent ideas about what sort of tools we
should build.  I really like his concept of "discoverability".  Emacs
is popular partly because after only a few minutes of training, you
learn how to learn everything else directly in Emacs.  There are
thousands of features and commands, yet you don't have to know them
all, and emacs helps you find them when you need them.  A major
problem with writing code with voice macros, like I used to do, is I
had to learn over a thousand voice commands.  That's a large mental
load.  If a window would show me all the commands that could be spoken
next whenever I pause, sorted by how often they're used in that
context, it would be a huge improvement.

So, I'm finding Eric's participation quite useful.  That's the single
measure I rate people on.  I do not currently agree with Eric that we
should first make Naturally Speaking work well in wine, and then focus
on the interface tools.  However, I do see his point, and I could see
changing my mind in the future if we can't get alternatives like
Julius working well enough.

The problem with using NS is that NS is limited, and unfixable.  It
has great continuous speech recognition, but it wants me to speak in
grammatically correct English all the time.  What I want instead is a
voice recognition engine that understands context, and allows me to
speak in C, Python, bash, etc.  If I'm in a bash console, and I say "C
D documents", I want that to recognise the cd command, and any word
that bash would normally auto-complete, like documents in this case.
Instead, NS used to give me text like "Seedy documents".  I want the
vocabulary limited to what's valid in the context.  I believe with
such features, it should be possible to achieve pretty good
productivity without high-speed highly accurate large-vocabulary
recognition.  Also, by actually using the FOSS speech-recognition
engines, I think we'll be able to accelerate improving them.  Relying
on NS in wine will just delay the FOSS alternative, and as I said, NS
is limited.  I'm much more interested in developing the next
generation of accessibility tools than living with the crap I can
currently buy.


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